10 things we learned from the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Homestead


Well, that was fun.

In a door-banging run to the finish with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin picked up the victory in Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 150 – the first-ever race in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

Watching the race on FS1 was half the fun. Following the trash-talking and banter on social media was the other half.

Here are 10 things we learned from Twitter after catching Sunday’s virtual action.

No. 1: Dale Jr. nearly won the thing racing one-handed.

He claims racing with two hands on iRacing is slower. After watching the way Dale picked his way through the field late in Sunday’s race (as predicted, just saying), we might just take his word for it.

No. 2: Let Alex Bowman live tweet from the car every week.

Alex Bowman sort of stole the show, tweeting through the whole race. I guess there’s a little less at stake when you’re racing for no points and no money in your living room.

The one big difference between real racing and sim racing is it’s a little easier to visit the bathroom during the latter. Bowman let his pup Finn take over during a break – or so he says. I’m not so sure dogs can drive, but my theory’s still a work in progress.

He even crowdsourced his pit calls to Twitter. A man of the people, that Bowman, who finished sixth.

No. 3: Will there be a Hendrick Motorsports competition meeting?

Uh oh. Fireworks!

Mid-race contact between chronic race-tweeter Alex Bowman and race favorite William Byron set up for an awkward exchange after damaging a handful of Team Hendrick cars – including bystander Chase Elliott, who tagged the wall trying to avoid the carnage.

The Bowman-Byron incident wasn’t the first Hendrick-on-Hendrick wreck Sunday.

No. 4: It takes a team.

In racing, it’s tough to go it alone – even in the virtual world.

The only exception to the rule is Matt DiBenedetto, apparently, who does it all.

No. 5: Jimmie Johnson’s got some work to do.

Seven-Time’s really, really good at driving race cars. The GOAT, even.

Sim cars? Well, he’s still a little bit of a rookie. It was a rough go for the No. 48 car, who ran into trouble early. And often.

Hey, at least he’s self-aware. He’ll get there. Plus, with seven NASCAR Cup Series championship trophies, what more does he have to prove?

No. 6: Don’t underestimate the underdogs.

Garrett Smithley and Timmy Hill might not be top-10 fixtures in the NASCAR Cup Series, but they sure proved they know how to wheel a car.

Smithley qualified on pole and showed impressive speed all afternoon. He had a shot at the victory until Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Timmy Hill passed him in the closing laps, ending up fifth.

Timmy Hill, who’s never piloted a race-winning car in NASCAR Cup Series competition but knows his way around iRacing, nearly won the thing, finishing third behind the two Cup veterans.

The duo sure made themselves known.

No. 7: That was fun!

We’re racing cars on computers. It’s making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. It’s fun, is it not?

No. 8: Denny #&!*% Hamlin.

The three-time Daytona 500 champ got the job done, marching his way through the field in the final laps…

…and contributing to the swear jar in the process. Earmuffs, kids!

No. 9: People are paying attention.

Even beyond the racing world, there are eyes on NASCAR stars sim racing.

No. 10: Let’s do it again soon?

We had a blast watching our favorite NASCAR stars tear up the virtual track. How about another one?

Results from the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Homestead:

1. #11 Denny Hamlin
2. #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr
3. #66 Timmy Hill
4. #98 Chase Briscoe
5. #51 Garrett Smithley
6. #88 Alex W Bowman
7. #43 Bubba Wallace
8. #37 Ryan Preece
9. #45 Ty Majeski
10. #20 Erik Jones
11. #21 Matt DiBenedetto
12. #89 Landon Cassill
13. #77 Parker Kligerman
14. #6 Ross Chastain
15. #22 Joey Logano
16. #14 Clint Bowyer
17. #40 Ryan Truex
18. #19 Bobby Labonte
19. #13 Ty Dillon
20. #7 Justin Allgaier
21. #47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
22. #12 Austin Cindric
23. #34 Michael McDowell
24. #9 Chase Elliott
25. #2 Brad Keselowski
26. #95 Christopher Bell
27. #3 Austin Dillon
28. #17 Chris Buescher
29. #18 Kyle Busch
30. #38 John Nemechek
31. #48 Jimmie Johnson
32. #33 Anthony Alfredo
33. #42 Kyle Larson
34. #24 William Byron
35. #1 Kurt Busch